Guest Author - Carolyn Chambers Clark, RN, EdD
What is Wellbutrin?
Wellbutrin is a drug used to treat depression (antidepressant). It is first taken in a dose of 100 mg twice a day for three days. If tolerated well, the dose may be increased to 150 mg twice a day (at least 8 hours apart). It shouldn't be taken at bedtime.
What problems have others had taking Wellbutrin?
Wellbutrin may be difficult to tolerate since its side effects include anxiety and insomnia, and it can produce a high rate of seizures, cause anxiety, nightmares and manic psychoses.
Drawbacks of all antidepressants include bothersome side effects (at least for the first week or two), which can be reduced by starting off with a very low dose of medication and gradually increasing the amount over two to three weeks. Other drawbacks are that antidepressants take 2-4 weeks to take effect, and panic and depressive symptoms can return after withdrawing from them.
Your Responsibility When Taking Wellbutrin or Any Drug
*Always work with your physician or nurse practitioner.
*Before taking any medication, make sure you are fully aware of all the potential side effects and limitations of any drug you are prescribed.
*As added protection, look up the prescription of a medication you're considering in the Physician's Desk Reference (PDR). Your physician probably has a copy in the office, or you can look up the drug in the reference section of your library or search for the particular drug online.
*Your responsibility is to fully inform your physician about any drugs or supplements you are currently taking. Withholding information could lead to being prescribed a drug that interacts in a dangerous way with what you are already taking. It's also important to tell your physician about any allergic reactions to drugs you've had, if you are pregnant, and if you are taking any over-the-counter medications or herbs.
*Once you've exchanged this important information both of you will be fully informed, and you can make a mutual decision about whether taking a particular medication is in your best interest. If your current physician is unwilling to take this kind of collaborative approach, you may want to find another doctor who will.
Your physician's responsibility when prescribing Wellbutrin
It is your physician's responsibility to (1) obtain a complete history of your symptoms, (2) inform you of your diagnosis, possible side effects and limitations for any drug you are asked to take, and (3) obtain your written informed consent to try out a medication.
If your have side effects, report them to your physician or nurse practitioner immedidately.
*Never stop Wellbutrin or any drug cold turkey as a rebound effect may occur that can be worse than the symptoms for which you started the drug in the first place. There is a specific way to wean yourself from Wellbutrin (or any drug). Talk to you health care practitioner about the best way to proceed. Ask for a written weaning schedule.
*In the meantime, learn relaxation and stress management procedures to help you reduce your depression without taking drugs.
This article is for information purposes. For treatment, consult your health care practitioner.